3A-4: Down 2-0, Carrollwood Day feels no pressure to rally past Tampa Bay HEAT
TAMPA – Down a pair of games in the Class 3A, District 4 final, Carrollwood Day junior outside hitter Gabriela Quarles said all the pressure was on the other side of the net and the Patriots just had to simply get going.
Carrollwood Day rallied, winning three tough games to claim its third straight district title, defeating the Tampa Bay HEAT 3-2 (23-25, 25-27, 25-22, 25-22, 15-10).
“They were up 2-0 and all the pressure was on them; we had zero pressure on us,” Quarles said. “Right there you just go for it; no fear, just go.”
Patriots coach Eric Praetorius said after dropping the first two games, an in-game adjustment in Game 3 flipping Quarles with Ally-Reese Williams, pitting Quarles directly against HEAT senior Catherine Trueheart, proved key in the comeback.
“We flipped it and put Gabby up against (Trueheart) and put Ally-Reese against the middle instead and it just worked for us in Game 3, so I stuck with it in Game 4 and stuck with it in Game 5.”
Trueheart was a force throughout with 24 kills, but CDS took advantage of some rotation points in the final two games – especially with the HEAT’s captain starting on the back line.
“Once we got them in some rotations they didn’t like, that proved the difference,” Praetorius said. “We took advantage at those points, we had it happen to us in the first two games, we both are just so even and that is why we’ve had two great matches with them (this season).”
Quarles had 18 kills and four aces in the match, while Williams had 15 kills (including three in the final game) and Jacklyn Kernohan had 12 kills for CDS.
“I don’t think we ever got worried being down, we’ve been down a lot,” Williams said. “But our team is really good about coming back and pushing hard.”
For the HEAT, middle hitter Abigail Casiano had 16 kills and five blocks.
Both teams were state semifinalists a season ago (with Tampa Bay HEAT competing in Class 2A in 2015), and both coaches said they expect to see each other again in the region tournament.
“They are so good we knew even after going up 2-0, there was no way they were going to stop,” HEAT coach Mark Kachurak said. “This is the kind of match you expect with two state semifinalist as season ago. We battled in the season, again in districts and hopefully we get to see each other again in the regions.”